Complete British News World

England: Leah Williamson returns to the Lionesses' squad for Euro 2025 qualifiers

England: Leah Williamson returns to the Lionesses' squad for Euro 2025 qualifiers

Image source, Getty Images

Comment on the photo, Leah Williamson will miss the 2023 Women's World Cup after suffering an anterior cruciate ligament injury

Leah Williamson is in England's squad for Euro 2025 qualifiers against Sweden and the Republic of Ireland and could make her first international appearance since last April.

Defender Millie Turner was also included after replacing Williamson in February.

Williamson, who led England to victory at Euro 2022 but has not featured for her country since a 2-0 defeat to Australia on April 11, 2023, has started Arsenal's last three matches, including Sunday's 3-1 win over Aston Villa.

“Of course I'm very happy. The team looks good,” England coach Sarina Wegman said.

“I look forward to working with you [Williamson] once again. We all didn't expect it [her to pull out in February] “She is the least of us, so it was difficult to bear and a huge disappointment for her and for us as well.”

It was a minor hamstring issue that caused Williamson to withdraw from the last encounter.

“But you have to get back to playing matches. She recovered well, it didn't take long which is good. Now she's getting back into her rhythm. Of course she hasn't played many matches yet, but,” Wegmann said. “She got there and she needs the report now.”

England will face Sweden at Wembley on Friday, April 5, and the Republic of Ireland in Dublin on Tuesday, April 9.

The qualifiers will be held from April to July, and the tournament is scheduled to be held in July 2025 in Switzerland.

There is no place in the team for injured Chelsea defender Millie Bright, who captained England at the Women's World Cup last year in Williamson's absence.

The 30-year-old will not feature for Chelsea in 2024 after a knee injury ruled her out of the UEFA Nations League matches in November.

Wegman said she was “a little disappointed, of course” to be without Bright again.

“We were all hoping [Bright] “She will recover a little faster, but she is taking her time to do the right thing to come back and not have relapses again,” Wegman added.

“She needs more work in the gym to get everything strong and that takes time. I hope she comes back after the international break but she is doing responsible things.”

Manchester United's Turner has been included in place of team-mate Maya Le Tissier, while midfielder Grace Clinton, on loan from United to Tottenham, retains her place after scoring on her debut against Austria last month.

Among the players who will miss the tournament are Manchester United top scorer Nikita Parris and Chelsea striker Aggie Beaver-Jones, who was called up to the England senior squad for the friendly win over Italy after impressing with the under-23 team.

Goalkeepers: Mary Earps (Manchester United), Hannah Hampton (Chelsea), Khiara Keating (Manchester City).

Defenders: Lucy Bronze (Barcelona), Jess Carter (Chelsea), Niamh Charles (Chelsea), Alex Greenwood (Manchester City), Esme Morgan (Manchester City), Millie Turner (Manchester United), Leah Williamson (Arsenal), Lottie Woobin Moi (Arsenal) )

Midfielders: Grace Clinton (Tottenham, on loan from Manchester United), Fran Kirby (Chelsea), Jess Park (Manchester City), Georgia Stanway (Bayern Munich), Ella Toone (Manchester United), Keira Walsh (Barcelona).

Attackers: Rachel Daly (Aston Villa), Lauren Hemp (Manchester City), Lauren James (Chelsea), Chloe Kelly (Manchester City), Beth Mead (Arsenal), Alessia Russo (Arsenal).

Wegman 'surprised' by Arsenal's trip to Australia

“I think with the calendar, we talked about it a lot and the busy schedules. There are a lot of challenges for the players and for us,” Wegman said.

“We have been working together in the summer and had talks with clubs. I was surprised by this journey but in general, competitions finish at the end of May and then there is one week before the international break.

“I think with the already complicated calendar, it's not good for them to go to the other side of the world. It's a very short period, so there's no time to adapt. They're playing a game after that.” [their England players] Come back to play two games for us against France.

Wegman said she had had “very good conversations” with Arsenal over the summer and that both parties were “on the same page”.

Wegman added: “I am in contact with the coaches all the time. We talk about the players, and this is the same with our medical and psychological staff.”

“We have also had conversations as a broader group to discuss our summer calendars and challenges. These conversations are ongoing.

“We started in January and had good conversations. We understand each other and it's a challenge. I think that's a really good thing.”